Council Amends Camping Ordinance In Response To Court Ruling

The growing issue of homelessness in Redding, and how to deal with a large camp on Parkview Avenue, was discussed by the city council Tuesday night. Dubbed “Camp Farr”, in reference to those displaced by the Carr Fire, the camp – practically right across the street from city hall – has grown by some estimates to well over 100 people. Neighborhood residents have been complaining about noise, campfires, and general health and safety issues but the city has, until now, had its hands tied to do anything until it had a legal ordinance that police could use. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a court case this year from Boise,Idaho which said that kicking people out of parks when there is no other place available would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. City Attorney Barry Dewalt wanted to update Redding’s ordinance to reflect those new rules, and keep the city from being sued. He mentioned the Good News Rescue Mission, which is rarely full, as an alternative to camping and said that is what separates Redding from Boise. But generally other than being proactive, not much has changed for the police. The ordinance will also strengthen rules reflecting the use of warming and cooking fires and signs will soon be posted regarding hours of the park so that people can be cited for being in the park when it’s closed. The ordinance goes into effect in February.

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